Frequently Asked Questions

Over the years we have been asked hundreds of thousands of questions about travel by ship for pleasure. Here, we have a collection of the most frequently asked questions and detailed answers we provide for them.  If you have a question and do not see the answer here, let me know by sending an email to  If I don’t know, I’ll find out.

Stateroom Location

The terms ‘stateroom’ and ‘cabin’ are interchangeable, they both mean the same thing,  as do the terms ‘balcony’ and ‘verandah’.  I try to stick with one or the other to be consistent but might stray off that plan from time to time because there is really no difference between the two words.  Some travelers and cruise lines think our stateroom sounds more elegant than the cabin.  Odds are, once on the ship, you will tell the person you are traveling with “I am going back to the cabin” not “I am making my way to our stateroom”.

What are the advantages of being in the front, middle or back of the ship?
Generally speaking, it is accurate to say that mid ship cabin locations are more popular.  They are popular for two main reasons. First, they are comparatively closer to everything.  If your stateroom is on one end of the ship and something you want to see or do is on the other end of the ship it takes longer to get there.

Is a more mid ship location better? 
Sure, it just costs more.  The cabin itself will be exactly the same inside.  On Oceanview staterooms though you may find that some of the mid-ship stateroom locations come with an obstructed view.  That is primarily due to where the lifeboats are located, hanging on the side of the ship in front of those oceanview staterooms.

What does ‘obstructed view’ mean?
Obstructions to view from staterooms come in a number of ways, most easily described by stateroom type.  First to know: the terms ‘stateroom’ and ‘cabin’ are interchangeable, they both mean the same thing, as do the terms ‘balcony’ and ‘verandah’.

Obstructed view Oceanview Staterooms (with a window or porthole)
Imagine being at sea with nothing around the ship as far as the eye can see.  If you were to stand and look out of the porthole or window being rated, you would see something other the than ocean. It might be a lifeboat, a support beam or some other obstruction.  Some cruise lines rate each stateroom concerning the percentage of the view blocked by the obstruction.  Again, this is if you were to stand and look out of the porthole or window being rated.

Obstructed View Balcony Staterooms
Balcony staterooms can have an additional factor included in that obstruction rating, the view if you looked straight down from the balcony.  Without leaning over the protective guard rail (never a good idea) but simply standing at it and looking straight down, you will see water on a balcony stateroom rated as unobstructed.  Obstructions that might come into play might include lifeboats or awnings over lower balcony staterooms.  Still, even a balcony stateroom rated ‘partially obstructed’ might have a 100% clear view of the ocean